You may know Adam Green as one half of The Moldy Peaches (the other half being Kimya Dawson), who recently got a lot of attention for the Juno soundtrack despite having gone on "hiatus" four years ago. Green also stands on his own as a solo performer; he just released his latest album Sixes & Sevens, and tomorrow night celebrates it with a performance at Town Hall (tickets).
Recently he told us about some of the old East Village anti-folk hangs, getting 900 bucks to play on The View, his appearance on Cash Cab, and how he'd like it to be legal to drink on the streets of New York.
As a pioneer of the Lower East Side anti-folk scene, how have you seen the neighborhood and music scene changed since you started out? The antifolk thing had been going on way before I heard about it. When I was a young man I used to hang around on St. Marks place with a kid named Matt who was bulimic. We would go see crummy bands play at Coney Island High. The bartender there was named Paleface and he was a folksinger. He was a bigshot in those days because he had a record deal with Polygram. He used to make fun of me because I had contracted crabs in the bathroom stall at Rye Playland. I guess Avenue A is completely different. The only place that’s still around from the olden days is Odessa. I was really sad when they closed Alice’s Restaurant.
How was it reuniting with Kimya for the performances around the release of the Juno soundtrack? The main performance that we did was on The View. I thought the whole thing was a little displacing. General Colin Powell’s enthusiasm for our group was probably the only thing that got me through it. They gave me a year’s supply of Café Bustelo for playing. Anyways I got a check for $900 with Mickey Mouse’s head printed on it. Me and my girlfriend couldn’t figure out why Disney was sending me money. It turns out that they own The View. But I’m glad that they don’t censor what Whoopie says.
Will this be your first time playing Town Hall? No I played there once opening for Bruce Willis back when he did blues stuff.
What can fans expect from your new album, Sixes & Sevens? It’s a typical blues record with a new-age feel. It’s sort of a cross between the Chinese music that you hear in a restaurant and the pounding industrial rhythms of Scott Walker’s newer stuff. I’m a long time admirer of Magical Power Mako and a disco band from New York called The Tower Recordings… I’m surprised that they never play any of that stuff on the radio.
If you had to write a new "Jessica Simpson" song, what pop culture starlet would it be based upon today? I’d write one about the critic Robert Christgau. He’s always been a great fan of mine and given me the most wonderful reviews.
Are there any newer New York bands that you're enjoying these days? I know I say it all the time.. but Ish Marquez is really one of the greats. Jeffrey Lewis, Turner Cody and Dufus are awesome too. There’s a fantastic band from Los Angeles called Entrance. My favorite record when I was a youngster was called “Leave Home” by John Davis of The Folk Implosion. And Tower Recordings I think is the seminal New York band of the 90’s.
You recently appeared on Cash Cab, what was that experience like? Did you win? I won 850 bucks. I was on the show with my mom and she got all the science questions right. I think we didn’t get any questions wrong actually. I got cold feet in the last round when he asked if we wanted to do double-or-nothing. I guess by then I realized that the host had bad-smelling breath and I was a little annoyed about being late to my destination.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story. One time I was sat on the subway in some tight pants. This little homeboy came up to me and I think he was sixteen or younger. He wanted me to come somewhere with him and kept offering me stuff. I was confused and thought he was just a really lonely kid who was desperate for company. Finally when he flashed 40 dollars at me I realized that he was trying to purchase my sex. I think only in New York would little boys try to pay me to do them.
Which New Yorker do you most admire? The greatest New Yorker that I’ve noticed is a guy named Mike G. Some people call him Mickey James and some call him Mike Jesus. He used to be in a band called Thin Lizard Dawn and now plays bass with Davey La. I find him to be the most wonderful man. He has an enormous sexual magnetism and has tapped most of the wares under fourteenth street at one time or another.
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? First I would legalize drinking on the street. Then I would install more public bathrooms. Finally I would change President’s day to correspond with the same day that you are supposed to vote for the President.
Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York? Me and my girlfriend have always figured that at some point we would move to a European metropolis like Rome, Berlin, Paris or possibly Barcelona. But the truth is that I don’t believe that I will ever escape Manhattan. Part of the reason is that I can’t drive nor do I care to learn at this point. I lived in Brooklyn for a while but I got into too much trouble with gambling, so now it’s Manhattan or debtor’s prison.
Can you please recommend a good weekend hang-out that isn't unbearably mobbed? For a while I went to Heather’s bar on 13th st. between A and B mostly because my friend was the bartender there. However the semi-lesbian aspect of the bar has grown on me and it’s become my favorite watering hole. I also like to Drink at San Loco. I can’t believe it’s sometimes empty on the weekends.
Do you have a favorite New York celebrity sighting or encounter? One time I rode the elevator with Tony Bennett and we sang “Stranger in Paradise” together. When we got to his floor he said I was his greatest fan ever. Another time I was in an office with Stanley Tucci and he checked out my manager’s ass.
What's your current soundtrack to the city? I think that Howlin’ Wolf is how the city makes me feel.
Best cheap eat in the city. The Pizza at Posto on First Avenue is so very wonderful. Also Jeffrey Jensen and his friend Curtis opened up a taco truck called Endless Summer on Bedford Ave. which is first-rate. It’s probably my favorite discount cuisine at the moment.
Best venue to see/play music in NYC. I thought it was Town Hall that’s why I’m playing there.